12 years ago I boarded a Nefesh B’Nefesh plane to move across the world and make Israel my home.
Here are some of my thoughts from the past 12 years:
- It was the best decision I ever made – and I knew it the day I moved here and feel the same way 12 years later.
- My local political views have changed *drastically* over the years. I went from the far right all the way to the center/left. Life and experiences change you. Living here changes you.
- Moving here has not changed my core values. However, I do see many more shades of color instead of black/white/grey.
- I still cannot express myself in Hebrew with the same comfort and ease as I do in English. I don’t think this will ever change and I have come to accept it.
- I met some incredible people who I am honored to call my friends. Some are olim like me, others are native Israelis. Some stayed, some left and wherever we are, the bond is forever.
- I stopped being an American consumer. I took a few years – and I am so much happier this way. Yes, I miss the crazy sales in the US but I also appreciate what I have and what I can afford.
- You can be fiscally responsible living in Israel – as long as you learn to live within your means and redefine “needs” vs “wants”.
- Socialized medicine has been a godsend.
- I now wish we could separate Church and State.
- My food consumption has drastically changed. I no longer eat a big dinner but rather a modest lunch. I buy my vegetables and fruits from local farmers, on their farms. Nothing I eat has corn in it.
- My career took a serendipitous turn shortly after I arrived and I never looked back. But boy am I thankful that I was given a chance. Thank you Sheri.
- Most importantly, I met and married the man of my dreams.
To the next 12 years and beyond.
This past week I had the pleasure of going to women’s only beach in Herzliyah. The beach’s name is called “The separate beach” and in Hebrew it is called “חוף הנפרד”. On Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday the beach is open only for women and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday it is only open for men.
Israel has a large population of ultra orthodox and they do not go mix swimming. A lot of the major beachside cities have a “separate beach” that most people who are not ultra orthodox do not know about.
So what brought me to an all women’s beach? My nieces. My sister is ultra orthodox and is raising her children in that world. She invited me to join her and her two eldest girls at the beach during their summer break.
Now I grew up by the beach. I have wonderful memories of going with my grandparents to Brighten Beach in Brooklyn as a young child. I went to school and camp in Long Beach and as a family, we went to East Rockaway’s beach/pool. Yeah, they had a pool *on* the beach.
So when the opportunity presented itself to go with my sister, her girls and our visiting mom, I jumped at the chance. I mean, I’ve been to separate beaches before so I knew what to expect. I was a little concerned that the beach was not accessible by public transportation but I quickly found out that the beach is a kilometer ( a little over half a mile) away. Phew. Public transportation and walking distance. Perfect.
It was wonderful to play in the sea with my family. We really frolicked in the sand/sea and we taught the girls to jump over the waves, collect seashells, dig and build in the sand.
These are the memories that last a lifetime.
This year Passover will be very different for me. The first being that I am not joining my parents and siblings for the Passover Seder. The second being that I now have different Passover traditions as a married lady.
I still subscribe to the notion that when a woman gets married, she takes on her husband’s traditions. We have to do a bit of research to figure out what Eitan’s father’s family kept and then incorporate the traditions of Israel (as this is our home and this is where Eitan was born and raised). This Passover will be strange for me since I grew up in a house that followed hasidic traditions of not mixing matzah and liquids (g’brucht) which was very strict. Truth be told, I had a heart to heart with my father two years ago and he agreed to allow me to change my tradition to mix matzah and liquid. Yes, I felt the need to ask him to change my tradition but not go the full way and ask my Rabbi what he thinks.
Now throw in the possibility of not only eating matzah and liquids, I might even be able to eat kitniyot (rice, beans). I am not sure I am comfortable with consuming it but that doesn’t mean we can’t have it in our house.
My mom sent me the Star-K Comprehensive Information & Product Guide for Passover. I grew up reviewing that list or one like it to see if my hair products, make up and medicines were found on the “not kosher for passover” list. For a long time I have not subscribed to the notion that unedible items have to be kosher for passover. But just in case some of you readers do want to flip through this list, here you go
I hope that for anyone enjoying a seder, it is an enjoyable experience. Have fun with it. Lighten it up. Pretend you are a kid again and find interesting ways to tell the Exodus story.
Oh, and don’t eat too much matzah. We all know what happens if you do.